The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) is responsible for prosecuting all criminal cases. This can be found under the Prosecution of Offences act 1985. The CPS was established in 1985 but it was in 1970 during the justice report that there were problems found within the police services when it came to prosecuting criminals. The police were found of being bias due to ethnic minority backgrounds and gave unfair trials with longer sentences than required for the crime. In 1978 the Phillips Royal Commission recommended the establishment of an independent agency to take control of prosecuting suspects. And then under the POA 1985 the CPS was established. The CPS is mainly built not only to stop the police from doing prosecutions but also to stop miscarriages of justice. A miscarriage of justice is when someone or a group of people go on trail and end up in jail when they really were innocent. This is an embarrassing waste of time and money for the court and in addition can cost millions in compensation. An example of a miscarriage of justice was the Guildford 4 Bombings of 1975. Guildford 4 were four men that were convicted of bombing a pub in Guildford in 1975. The four were held in prison for fifteen years and all of the convictions were turned over a few years after when they found out that the four in prison were not actually the four that committed the crime. In 1989 the four were released from prison after 15-16 years inside. This is why the CPS was set up, to stop wrong convictions and miscarriages of justice. Currently there are 13 districts of the CPS in the UK each headed by a chief crown prosecutor. There is a 14th area which is CPS direct which is a telecommunication advise help line for the police regarding certain cases.
The CPS has five main roles of how it works and proceeds with cases. Firstly the CPS look at the evidence and ADVISE the police on the charge that the defendants should be prosecuted for. Then they REVIEW the case. They will look at all the evidence and all statements and make sure that they understand what the case contains; the ‘Hate Crime Scrutiny Group’ does this. After this they DECIDE whether to prosecute or not. They will need to take into account whether it is in the public’s interest to prosecute or whether putting the case to court would be a waste of time and money. If decided that the case is liable to go to the courts they will PREPARE it for the trail. They will gather all the information that they have on the case and take it to the court for the jury to evaluate. Finally they will PRESENT the case in court. This involves members of the CPS turning up to court and presenting all evidence and statements that the police had given them to the judge and jury for them to make a decision. Other jobs include keeping in touch with the witnesses and victims and keeping them supported and up to date with how the development of the case is going.
The key role of the CPS is deciding whether the prosecute, they decide this by applying the ‘Full Code Test’ stated In Section 10 of Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. The Full Code test includes two tests. The first being the evidential test, and the second being the public interest test. Firstly, the evidential test is put into place. This involves several key features. Firstly, is there realistic prospect of conviction and also is the evidence sufficient, reliable and admissible? This means that the CPS will look through reliable evidence; i.e. – CCTV, DNA, Finger Prints, Confession and Eye Witnesses. The CPS cannot take into account any evidence that may be unreliable; i.e. – Child Witnesses, Poor quality CCTV, Confession under Oppression and Hearsay. Once the evidential test has been passed the public interest takes place. This involves asking a series of questions and working out whether it is in the public’s interest to prosecute the defendant. These